Periodicals; Mormons; Religious thought; Philosophy and religion
Independent national quarterly established to express Mormon culture and examine the relevance of religion to secular life. It is edited by Mormons who wish to bring their faith into dialogue with human experience as a whole and to foster artistic and scholarly achievement based on their cultural heritage. The journal encourages a variety of viewpoints; although every effort is made to insure accurate scholarship and responsible judgment, the views expressed are those of the individual authors and are not necessarily those of the Mormon Church or of the editors.
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Rees, Robert A.
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Treasures in the Heavens / 83 which is primal and self-existent, having no dependence on other matter or its qualities. This is that "light-stream" which no power is able to hold down and no matter is able to control in any way (Pistis Sophia, 227). On the contrary, it is this light which imposes form and order on all else; it is the spark by which Melchezidek organizes new worlds (35); it is the light that purifies contaminated substances (388), and the light that enables dead matter to live (Ch. 65; 134). Reduced to its simplest form, creation is the action of light upon matter (hyle) (64); matter of itself has no power, being burnt-out energy (65), but light reactivates it (134); matter is incapable of changing itself—it has no desire to, and so light forces it into the re-cycling process where it can again work upon it—for light is the organizing principle (50). If Melchizedek is in charge of organizing worlds, it is Michael and Gabriel who direct the outpouring of light to those parts of chaos where it is needed (130). As light emanates out into space in all directions it does not weaken but mysteriously increases more and more, not stopping as long as there is a space to fill (129). In each world is a gathering of light ("synergy"?) and as each is the product of a drive towards expansion, each becomes a source of new expansion, "having its part in the expansion of the universe" (193 end). The mere mechanics of the creation process as described in our "treasure" texts display truly remarkable scientific insight. For the making of a world the first requirements, we are told, are a segment of empty space, pure and unencumbered,91 and a supply of primordial matter to work with.92 Mere empty space and inert matter are, however, forbidding and profitless things in themselves, disturbing and even dangerous things for humans to be involved with—contemplating them, the mind is seized with vertigo until some foothold is found in the void.93 The order and stability of a foundation are achieved through the operation of a "Spark." The Spark is sometimes defined as "a small idea" that comes forth from God and makes all the difference between what lives and what does not: "Compared with it all the worlds are but as a shadow, since it is the Spark whose light moves all (material) things."94 It is the ultimate particle, the "ennas which came from the Father of those who are without beginning," emanating from the Treasure-house of Light from which all life and power is ultimately derived.95 Thanks to the vivifying and organizing power of the Spark, we find throughout the cosmos an infinity of dwelling-places (topoi), either occupied or awaiting tenants.96 These are colonized by migrants from previously established "toposes" or worlds, all going back ultimately to a single original center.97 The colonizing process is called "planting," and those spirits which bring their treasures to a new world are called "Plants," more rarely "seeds," of their father or "Planter" in another world.98 Every planting goes out from a Treasure-house, either as the essential material elements or as the colonizers themselves, who come from a sort of mustering-area called the "Treasure-house of Souls/'99 With its "planting" completed, a new world is in business, a new Treasury has been established from which new Sparks may go forth in all directions to start the process anew in ever new spaces;100 God wants every man to "plant a planting," nay, "he has promised that those who keep his Law may also become creators of worlds."101 But keeping that Law requires following the divine pattern in every point; in taking the Treasure to a new world, the Sent One (who follows hard on the heels of the colonists) seeks nothing so much as complete identity